And We’re Off!

Written by Safarigal
November 25, 2022

We took off from Portland on an early morning flight. There was a thin layer of fog over the Columbia River and the airport, but we quickly rose above it. Suddenly there were Mt St Helens and Mt Adams outside the window. Dawn was breaking and casting a pink glow on the eastern snowy slopes of the mountains. It was so beautiful.

Next, there was Mt Hood right outside the window. Such a majestic sight. It struck me that there is such incredible beauty so close to me in the Pacific Northwest. Do I really need to travel to the end of our planet to see nature at her best when I can see the amazing beauty right outside the window on my flight from Portland to Dallas?

As I gazed at the passing landscape below me I realized how little I know about American geography.

Where was I now?

What are those mountains and valleys all about? I feel that I know every inch of the landscape of England and Wales from O level Geography, all of those endless Ordnance Survey maps, but this landscape is a mystery to me. It certainly is beautiful.

However, enough of the view from the plane. The main things is that I am so excited to finally be on this flight to Dallas. The start of our long journey to Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica. The land of fire, the land of ice.

I’m glad that the stress of packing is over. Luckily we had most of the needed expedition clothes already. In a fit of misguided judgement I had decided that we should climb Mt Kilimanjaro in 2004. While Brian studied the route we were to take, and the dangers of mountain sickness, the best trekking poles and boots, I became obsessed with what clothes we should take. I learned all about base layers, long underwear, waterproof pants and the like. At great expense we purchased all of the necessary gear. Then seeing as we had the gear, I decided that we should climb Mt Kenya in 2006. But after that the clothes were packed away in a cardboard box in the basement. I never thought they would see the light of day again.

However, now they have been dusted off and washed, and packed in the suitcase for the Antarctica expedition. Our climbing boots wouldn’t work for wet landings, but a couple of years ago we were sailing in Glacier Bay in Alaska and bought boots for the sailing trip and walking on the glaciers. They have surfaced again too, and are good to go. Yay! We have the gear. Let’s get it all packed.

Well, the packing didn’t go as well as expected. Most of the past 2 days has been spent trying to sort out what we were taking, and weighing the cases, taking stuff out, and weighing them again. Finally, we were at the correct weight, 50 lbs for each suitcase, and 17 lbs for carry on luggage. Yay!

My joy was short lived. I checked the information from Silversea again to make sure I had the weights correct. Horrors – in one of the myriad of emails and attachments we had from them, it stated that the hand luggage and checked suitcase should weigh a total of 50 lbs. Not 17 lbs and 50 lbs each. Well, this was not going to work at all. There was no point checking with Silversea to see if this information was indeed accurate as each time I ask them anything, I get a different answer. There was no point asking my travel agent. I am my travel agent. So my last resort was to go to that very reliable source of information, social media. Well I was reassured on social media that it was not the combined weight, it was 17 lbs and 50 lbs each. So there we were, all packed up and finally ready to go. It’s been 3 years since we decided to book this trip. It’s hard to believe we are finally on the plane. Next stop Dallas, then on to Santiago, Chile!

Post Discussion


  1. Kevin O'Brien

    Hey thanks for journaling this voyage. I’m doing the same itinerary on the same ship in mid-February. Did you take any motion sickness meds with you or will you rely on the ship for that? I’ve sailed almost 100 days on Silversea and another 24 on other lines and never gotten sick but the Drake Passage sounds a bit daunting. After reading Endurance, Alfred Lansing’s painstaking account of Ernest Shackleton’s exploration of Antarctica, I def want to get some motion sickness meds before leaving! Great info on what to pack in your blog – thanks too for that. Looking forward to more picks and details as you sail.

    • Safarigal

      We are in the Drake Passage at the moment, and although the ship is certainly rocking, it’s no worse than the Med on a bad day, and certainly not as bad as the Bay of Biscay. I think we got lucky. We will see what tomorrow brings! We don’t usually take sea sickness meds with us, but I suddenly got worried when we were in Santiago and went in search of meclizine in Santiago, but was unable to find it. We don’t need it today, but I’m going to check to see if the shop has some just in case the return trip is nasty.

You May Also Like…


It was a very cold morning when we disembarked from the Silver Cloud and took the bus to Port Williams airport. We were scheduled to leave the ship at 7:00, and ended up doing so at 7:15. The bus was small, no room to store luggage, so we all...

Read More

En Route to Puerto Williams

Well as it turned out, although not quite a millpond, there was really not much motion at all overnight. A huge disappointment. We were due to arrive at Puerto Williams at 1:00 PM so there wasn’t much more time to savor the waves. It was our...

Read More

The Drake Passage Again

No icebergs. No announcement from Billy calling us down to the zodiacs. Not a whale in sight. All I could see out of the window was the endless grey sea, dappled with white caps. Alas, we are not in Antarctica anymore, but are speeding across...

Read More


I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.